Healthy Eating Week 2019
Published on 05/06/19
From the 10th – 14th of June 2019, the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) are running their annual Healthy Eating Week to celebrate healthy food and promote a healthy lifestyle in Britain’s schools. Any nursery, primary, special and secondary school can sign up to the week via the BNF website – as of the 24th May 2019, 4473 nurseries and schools have done so. That’s 1.9 million children!
Once signed up, your institute will have access to a variety of age-specific resources to use not only this week, but all year round. This year, the BNF have chosen to focus on breakfast, eating 5 a day, hydration, activity and sleep.
Many surveys have highlighted the growing numbers of children going to school without having eaten a healthy breakfast. Evidence shows that going without breakfast leaves children with low energy and moods, a reduced cognitive function and poor nutritional health. Children turning up to school should ideally have eaten a healthy breakfast that is high in fibre and low in sugar, such as whole-wheat toast or porridge. In order to ensure that their pupils are receiving a healthy breakfast, the BNF suggests that schools hold breakfast clubs; they also provide challenges and ideas to make breakfast fun!
5 A Day
It is a well-known fact that we should all eat a balanced diet. Unfortunately, many children are missing out on the essential fruit and vegetables that should be a part of this. The BNF provide schools with food planners and meal ideas that incorporate several fruits and vegetables at once; they even have smoothie recipes to help children hit the essential 5-a-day mark, ensuring their bodies are receiving key vitamins and minerals. Joining in with heathy eating week can help to teach children that fruit and vegetables can be a tasty and enjoyable part of their diets.
Children should be drinking 6-8 cups of water a day, and even more if the weather is warm! If children are dehydrated, they can experience headaches, lethargy and loss of concentration. This is because water is an indispensable ingredient in normal bodily functions, such as energising muscles and aiding digestion. By including hydration tally charts and ideas that make the idea of drinking water more exciting, the BNF healthy eating week highlights the importance of hydration to students - the part of a balanced diet that is often forgotten.
The NHS recommend that children aged 5 to 18 should be active (skipping, running, playing a sport) for the minimum of 60 minutes per day. Apart form the obvious physical benefits such as increasing cardiac ability, being active also promotes good mental and social health. As a part of their programme, the BNF provides many resources to encourage activity through age appropriate activities, including innovative games, challenges and group tasks. All these resources can be used throughout the year, not just in Healthy Eating Week!
Lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on children’s health, for example it can decrease the functioning of the immune system, making children more susceptible to coughs and colds, it can also lower their mood and decrease their cognitive skills such as memory and creativity. It is recommended that children aged between 3 and 5 years have 11-12 hours of sleep a night. This figure decreases as children get older, to around 9.5 hours a night, by the time they are teenagers. The BNF has developed an extensive guide to ensuring children have the length and quality of sleep they need for their age, including how to make their room a sleep-friendly environment and a suggested night-time routine.
Signing up your school for 2019’s Healthy Eating Week will highlight to children the importance of being healthy in all aspects of their life. The resources provided by the BNF are totally free and can be used year after year to provide students will the necessary tools to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
If you take part in any healthy eating events, let us know via our social media (@e4education) – we would love to see what you get up to!